10 Best Colleges in Florida – 2024

May 13, 2024

best colleges in florida

The state of Florida has long had its fair share of attractions to lure young and old visitors alike. From Disney World to beaches favored by spring breakers to a retirement community so large it has become a census-designated place, the Sunshine State has possessed a magnetic allure. Yet, today, it’s colleges and universities have made Florida a top-notch higher education destination point. The following list of the 10 best colleges in Florida is meant to give you a sense of the array of wonderful higher education options in the state. The data in each profile card is intended to give a better sense of the academic offerings and outcomes at each institution. If you happen to be a resident, you have public options that will allow you to stay close to home for college without sacrificing a single ounce of quality, while simultaneously maximizing the value of your tuition dollar.

Methodology 

Click here to read our methodology for the Best Colleges in Florida. As you’ll see, some schools with spectacular (and deserved) reputations simply do not happen to fare well on metrics such as student-to-faculty ratio or spending per student. We understand that a list based solely on prestige/general reputation would look different than what you will find below.

Best Colleges in Florida

Here’s a quick preview of the ten Florida-based institutions that made our list. Detailed profiles and stats can be found when you scroll below.

1) University of Florida

2) University of Miami

3) Florida State University

4) Rollins College

5) University of South Florida

6) Florida International University

7) University of Central Florida

8) Florida Institute of Technology

9) Florida Atlantic University

10) Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

All of the schools profiled below have a history of sending graduates to the most desirable employers and graduate schools in the country. College Transitions will provide you with—when available—each school’s:

  • Enrollment
  • Cost of Attendance
  • Acceptance Rate
  • Median SAT
  • Median ACT
  • Retention Rate
  • Graduation Rate

We will also include a longer write-up of each college’s:

  • Academic Highlights – Includes facts like student-to-faculty ratio, average class size, number of majors offered, and most popular majors.
  • Professional Outcomes – Includes info on the rate of positive outcomes, companies employing alumni, and graduate school acceptances.
#1 Best College in Florida
University of Florida

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL

Academic Highlights: With 16 colleges and 100 undergraduate majors to choose from, educational experiences are exceptionally diverse. The Warrington College of Business and the Wertheim College of Engineering are highly respected, so it’s no surprise that those two programs confer the greatest percentage of degrees—12% and 14%, respectively. Biology (11%), the social sciences (11%), and health professions (8%) are next in popularity. 53% of sections enroll fewer than 20 students, and 33% of students partake in an undergraduate research experience.

Professional Outcomes: By graduation day, 66% of the Class of 2022 had already procured a first job. The top occupational areas were engineering (13%), health care (13%), computer science (5%), and marketing (4%). 200+ Gator alumni can be found at top corporations like Google, EY, Raymond James, Deloitte, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle, and PwC. The average salary for all 2022 grads was $69k, with a high of $100k for computer science majors. Of those pursuing advanced degrees, a master’s degree was the most popular pursuit (63%) followed by law school (11%).

  • Enrollment: 34,552 (undergraduate); 20,659 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $23,530 (in-state); $45,808 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1400
  • Median ACT: 31
  • Acceptance Rate: 23%
  • Retention Rate: 97%
  • Graduation Rate: 90%

#2 Best College in Florida
University of Miami

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, FL

Academic Highlights: Over 100 undergrad programs are offered across nine schools, with the greatest number of degrees conferred in business/marketing (21%), health professions (13%), biology (11%), the social sciences (9%), communication (9%), and engineering (8%). The Miami Business School and the College of Engineering enjoy solid national reputations, and programs in music, marine science, communications, and architecture are also highly ranked. 52% of all course sections contain fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Within six months of graduating, 98% of the Class of 2022 had positive outcomes, with 64% employed full-time and 34% in graduate school. Companies employing 2022 grads included Deloitte, Citrix, NBCUniversal, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Citi, and Morgan Stanley. Across all majors, the median starting salary was an impressive $63k. 100+ Canes also can be found in the offices of Google, IBM, PwC, Apple, and Microsoft. The most frequently attended graduate school is typically Miami itself.

  • Enrollment: 12,883 (undergraduate); 6,710 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $93,146
  • Median SAT: 1410
  • Median ACT: 32
  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 84%

#3 Best College in Florida
Florida State University

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL

Academic Highlights: A wide range of baccalaureate degrees—103 to be precise—are available at FSU. The student-to-faculty is a 17:1, which translates into somewhat larger class sizes. Ten percent of sections contain more than fifty students, and 4% have more than 100. However, that is balanced by the 66% of sections that contain fewer than twenty students. Twenty-three percent of degrees conferred fall under the business umbrella. The social sciences (15%), psychology (8%), biology (8%), and homeland security (6%) are next in popularity.

Professional Outcomes: Eighty-three percent of job-seeking Seminole grads receive at least one offer of employment within three months of graduation. The top five sectors employing 2022 grads are (in order) finance, technology, marketing, health, and engineering. Roughly one-third of 2022 Florida State grads elected to immediately pursue admission into an advanced degree program; 75% of those who apply receive at least one acceptance. A typical graduating class sees over 100 students accepted into medical schools and over 200 accepted into law schools.

  • Enrollment: 32,936
  • Cost of Attendance: $25,762 (In-State); $39,692 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1300
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 25%
  • Retention Rate: 94%
  • Graduation Rate: 85%

#4 Best College in Florida
Rollins College

Rollins College

  • Winter Park, FL

Academic Highlights: Students are free to explore 60+ majors and minors and are free to carve out a more personalized path. Thanks to an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, 58% of course sections are able to enroll 19 or fewer students. The greatest number of students elect to study business/marketing (32%) and many others choose to major in the social sciences (13%), journalism (11%), the visual and performing arts (9%), and psychology (7%).

Professional Outcomes: Twelve months after earning their degree at Rollins, 94% of alumni are employed or in graduate school. Even better, 93 of surveyed graduates feel that the school was helpful in preparing them for a productive career. Companies employing large numbers of graduates include the Walt Disney Company, AdventHealth, Deloitte, Amazon, Truist, Microsoft, and the Orange County Government. Those who leave Florida most often settle in NYC, DC, Atlanta, or Boston.

  • Enrollment: 2,263
  • Cost of Attendance: $81,380
  • Median SAT: 1250
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 50%
  • Retention Rate: 86%
  • Graduation Rate: 78%

#5 Best College in Florida
University of South Florida

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL

Academic Highlights: USF has an astounding 200 undergraduate majors and concentration areas available and despite a fairly high 22:1 student-to-faculty ratio, is able to enroll fewer than 20 students in 42% of their course sections. The most popular major is health professions (19%) followed by business (17%), biology (13%), the social sciences (11%), and psychology (8%). An increasingly competitive university, USF’s nursing and psychology programs are top notch and the business, engineering, and computer science majors are great values.

Professional Outcomes: Employers that gobble up significant numbers of University of South Florida alumni include Citi, Moffitt Cancer Center, BayCare Health System, Tampa General Hospital, Raymond James, Centene Corporation, Deloitte, Microsoft, AWS, and Kforce. Therefore it’s little surprise that a study by the Florida Board of Governors revealed that USF is a highly-rated contributor to the local economy, represents excellent value, and facilitates social mobility.

  • Enrollment: 38,046
  • Cost of Attendance: $20,005 (In-State); $30,919 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1300
  • Median ACT: 29
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%
  • Retention Rate: 90%
  • Graduation Rate: 74%

#6 Best College in Florida
Florida International University

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL

Academic Highlights: Florida International offers 120 undergraduate degree programs across eight different colleges, from business, engineering, and architecture to hospitality & tourism management. The international business program is especially well-regarded and nationally ranked. Popularity-wise, the most degrees are conferred in business/management/marketing (24%), psychology (13%), multi/interdisciplinary studies (10%), biological sciences (7%), and the social sciences (7%). 37% of classes enroll fewer than 20 students.

Professional Outcomes: Those who graduated in 2024 had largely positive outcomes, with 62% employed, 12% pursuing a volunteer activity, 6% taking additional coursework, and 2% joining the military. Across all majors over the past five years, the most alumni have go on to work in the following sectors: operations, education, healthcare services, sales, administrative, business development, and community and social services. Top employers include Florida International University, Baptist Health, Miami-Dade Public Schools, Amazon, and Apple.

  • Enrollment: 44,045 (undergraduate); 10,040 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $26,016 (in-state); $38,414 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1150
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 59%
  • Retention Rate: 92%
  • Graduation Rate: 70%

#7 Best College in Florida
University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL

Academic Highlights: With a very high 29:1 student-to-faculty ratio, classes at UCF are fairly large as 23% contain 50 or more students. There are 100+ undergraduate majors at this institution. The most popular majors are business (17%), health professions (15%), psychology (10%), engineering (9%), and the visual and performing arts (7%). The school ranks well for facilitating social mobility and overall value and the engineering, computer science, and nursing programs all rank well on a national level.

Professional Outcomes: Over two-thirds of recent graduates obtained employment immediately after earning their bachelor’s degree; one-quarter head right to graduate school. The median starting salary is $47,000 and the most commonly entered industries are hospital/healthcare, education, hospitality services, engineering, technology, financial, accounting, and marketing. The most popular graduate degrees pursued were in the sciences, health professions, education, and medicine.

  • Enrollment: 58,749
  • Cost of Attendance: $24,244 (In-State); $39,269 (Out-of-State)
  • Median SAT: 1270
  • Median ACT: 27
  • Acceptance Rate: 41%
  • Retention Rate: 93%
  • Graduation Rate: 76%

#8 Best College in Florida
Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology

  • Melbourne, FL

Academic Highlights: More than 200 undergraduate and graduate degree programs await you at Florida Tech. You’ll study with a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio which allows for half of all courses to take place in a relatively intimate setting with fewer than 19 students. Roughly half of all degrees are in the engineering field and the most popular are aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering (13%) aviation/aerospace technology (12%), mechanical engineering (11%), computer science (6%), and ocean engineering (5%).

Professional Outcomes: Florida Institute of Technology sends a large number of grads to companies/organizations such as the US Army, Boeing, NASA, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, L3Harris Technologies, Booz Allen Hamilton, Microsoft, Blue Origin, and Amazon. Employers love the hands-on nature of an FIT education and it results in them being ranked highly in the area of graduate employability.

  • Enrollment: 3,374
  • Cost of Attendance: $64,266
  • Median SAT: 1210
  • Median ACT: 25
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Retention Rate: 75%
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

#9 Best College in Florida
Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University

  • Boca Raton, FL

Academic Highlights: Florida Atlantic offers over 170 academic programs across nine colleges, including the highly selective Wilkes Honors Program. 38% of classes have fewer than 20 students, and undergraduate research is highly encouraged. Programs in business, engineering, computer science, and nursing are particularly strong. Popularity-wise, the highest number of degrees are conferred in business (23%), health professions (13%), biological sciences (8%), and psychology (7%).

Professional Outcomes: With a 68% job placement rate, many students have positive post-graduate outcomes. Currently, nearly 3,000 alumni work at Florida Atlantic itself while just over 1,000 are employed by Broward County Public Schools. 200+ alumni work for each of Broward College, Palm Beach State College, Broward Health, and NextEra Energy. Many can also be found at major corporations such as Amazon, Microsoft, Hilton, Marriott, and Salesforce. Sector-wise, most alumni work in business development followed by operations, education, and sales.

  • Enrollment: 24,718 (undergraduate); 6,131 (graduate)
  • Cost of Attendance: $27,634 (in-state); $42,010 (out-of-state)
  • Median SAT: 1110
  • Median ACT: 23
  • Acceptance Rate: 73%
  • Retention Rate: 84%
  • Graduation Rate: 64%

#10 Best College in Florida
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

  • Daytona Beach, FL

Academic Highlights: The only areas of study at this unique university are in the areas of applied science, aviation, business, computers & technology, engineering, space, and security, intelligence and safety. The majority of the classes are medium-sized (between 20-49 students) as the 18:1 ratio doesn’t allow for many intimate seminar courses. The most common area of study is actually aeronautics/aviation technology (44%), followed by aerospace/aeronautical/space engineering (18%), and mechanical engineering (11%).

Professional Outcomes: Those graduating in 2023 had an 85% placement rate sic months after graduation. 59% had entered the world of employment and 27% elected to pursue an advanced degree. The mean salary for those employed was $69,000 and the highest-volume employers were the US Air Force, Northrop Grumman, the US Navy, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Popular grad schools included the University of West Florida, the University of Florida, Johns Hopkins, and Georgia.

  • Enrollment: 7,177
  • Cost of Attendance: $65,738
  • Median SAT: 1240
  • Median ACT: 26
  • Acceptance Rate: 65%
  • Retention Rate: 82%
  • Graduation Rate: 61%

We hope you have found our list of the Best Colleges in Florida to be useful and informative as you continue your college search process. We also invite you to check out some of our other resources and tools including: